As parents, we all know how important playtime is to a toddler. It is during active play that they develop dexterity and learn to master different types of physical skills. Playing does not just involve the conventional toys that we know. Toddlers are innately curious and they love to explore and discover new things. It is not really about what they are playing with, but the process of how they use it to learn and enjoy at the same time. No wonder even with my son’s box loads of toys and gadgets, he still prefers the most unusual things he can find around the house – a wooden spoon, my wide-tooth comb and empty water bottles. Tired of telling my son not to play with this and that, I gathered stuff I the house, which I thought might be “useful” for him.
Here are some of the unconventional toys we discovered:
1. Water/ Juice PET bottle (without the cap) and cardboard cut into sticks
I’ve read about this DIY toy, which made use of pipe cleaners. I couldn’t find them here so, I made my own version and what do you know! We now have an instant toy to keep my curious boy busy. Not only that, this activity helps him develop eye and hand coordination and gives him a clever sense of fulfillment after shooting each stick to the narrow opening of the bottle.
2. Empty Boxes
One time, I saw my son grab one of the empty boxes in our storage room. He sat inside the box and told me, “Mommy, boat!” Well for me it was just one of the boxes I’ve accumulated from my online shopping, but yeah, for him it is a boat. The boat sometimes becomes a ship (depending on the size I presume). Sometimes, he just likes putting his other toys inside and then scattering them on the floor all over again.
Satisfy your toddlers urge to tear up paper by giving him/her old issues of glossy magazines. I prefer the glossy ones since they won’t leave a dirty imprint on his hands (which later can spread on the floor or the walls!)
4. Empty Clear Plastic Jars
One of the activities Caleb likes to play is play collector. When we go down to the park, he brings along his sand bucket or a clear plastic jar and where he puts everything he finds interesting. One time, I was teaching him about numbers so I asked him to collect 10 flowers that fell off the pavement.
5. Toilet Paper Tubes
You’ll be surprised how a toilet paper tube will be to a toddler. My son likes to play with them like blocks or as a trumpet. Sometimes, he just like to cramp in his little toys inside the tube only to challenge himself how he can get them out again.